Norman A. Plate

Plan and plant this garden over couple of days

Lauren Bonar Swezey,  – November 6, 2004

SIZE: 10 by 15 feet

TIME: 1 day for shopping and soil prep, 1 day to plant

COST: About $500 (chair and table not included)

This little garden, designed by Judy Wigand of Judy’s Perennials in San Marcos, California, makes use of pillowy perennials that will produce a colorful show this season.

Wigand designed the garden around a willow chair and table, but a bench or a simple water feature, with a stone path leading to it, would also work.

In our plan, perennials with flowers in fiery oranges, reds, and yellows are outlined with cool whites and grays; the plants are mostly long-bloomers that provide all-season color. Those with shorter flowering cycles (santolina, for instance) were also selected for their attractive foliage color when not in bloom.

(numerals indicate number of plants)

A. Boltonia asteroides ‘Snowbank’, 5

B. Cape fuchsia (Phygelius capensis ‘Moonraker’), 4

C. Chrysanthemum frutescens ‘Silver Leaf’, 3

D. Erodium corsicum ‘Album’, 18

E. Lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus ‘Compacta’), 3

F. Nemesia ‘Innocence’, 3

G. Penstemon gloxinioides ‘Firebird’, 5

H. ‘Playboy’ rose, 1

I. Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’, 5

J. Santa Barbara daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus), 4

K. Silver thyme (Thymus vulgaris ‘Argentus’), 4

L. Veronica spicata ‘Icicle’, 4

Preparation, planting


1. Prepare the soil. Cover the planting bed with a 3-inch layer of compost and rotary-till it into the soil.

2. Shop for plants. Water thoroughly when you bring them home.

3. Shop for stone pavers (at a building supply yard).


1. Position the plants, still in their nursery pots, on the bed; adjust as necessary.

2. Position stone pavers, firming them into the soil. Also position the chair or bench, offsetting it so the garden doesn’t look too uniform.

3. Dig planting holes. As you dig, add controlled-release fertilizer to each planting hole.

4. Set out the plants.

5. Snake ooze-tubing around them for irrigation.

6. Mulch. To control weeds and keep evaporation down, spread ground fir bark around plants.